The Louisiana State Legislature adjourned its 2020 regular session on June 1, 2020, and immediately started a special session to consider the state’s annual budget bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
During the 2020 regular session, the state legislature referred five constitutional amendments to the 2020 ballot for voter approval or rejection:
- House Bill 267 would allow the Louisiana State Legislature, through a two-thirds vote in each chamber, to use up to one-third of the revenue in the Budget Stabilization Fund to cover the state’s costs associated with a federally-declared disaster.
- Senate Bill 272 would authorize a property tax exemption for property that is subject to an agreement with local government and would allow certain property owners to make payments instead of paying property taxes.
- House Bill 360 would allow the presence or production of oil or gas to be taken into account when assessing the fair market value of an oil or gas well for ad valorem property tax purposes.
- House Bill 464 would change the state’s expenditures limit growth formula.
- House Bill 525 would increases the income limit from $50,000 to $100,000 for those who qualify for the special assessment level for residential property receiving the homestead exemption.
The state legislature also passed Senate Bill 130, which would ask the voters in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes whether to authorize sports betting within the parish. If a majority of voters in the parish support authorizing sports betting, sports betting would be allowed in the parish after state laws are passed providing for the regulation of such activities. Governor John Bel Edwards (D) is expected to sign the bill, which would then place a referendum on the ballot in each parish.
The legislature referred one other constitutional amendment to the November 2020 ballot during the 2019 legislative session. It would add language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
From 1995 through 2018, 185 constitutional amendments were placed on the ballot by the state legislature. About 10 constitutional amendments were on the ballot in Louisiana during even-numbered years. A total of 139 of the measures (75%) were approved and 46 of the measures (25%) were defeated.